AMY KIRK: Traumatic toilet de-clogging likely to haunt childrenWhen we remodeled our kitchen in 2003, it was like a typical kitchen remodeling project: since we were updating insulation, drywall, lighting, windows, flooring and cabinets, it only seemed logical to replace the toilet at the same time.
By: Amy Kirk, The Daily Republic
When we remodeled our kitchen in 2003, it was like a typical kitchen remodeling project: since we were updating insulation, drywall, lighting, windows, flooring and cabinets, it only seemed logical to replace the toilet at the same time.
The existing one was supposedly a “water saver” model. It had to go because its pathetic flush just wasn’t cutting it with the demands our household put on it. We decided to replace it with a popular industrial strength flusher model at the plumber’s recommendation. I now realize we should’ve gone with a sanity saver model instead.
Traumatic toilet clogging incidents are probably going to be the most memorable of our kids’ childhood and will likely have long-term effects of proportions yet to be determined. Of all the unpleasant problems my husband and I have had to resolve, unplugging the bathroom toilet is the most dreaded of all. My kids have a deep-seated fear of plugging the toilet and know from experience that the job is something their parents get frustrated over quickly. Although you’d never know it by the way the toilet auger and what I call the accordion toilet plunger have been flung into the yard when frustrations have peaked, both are the most valuable tools we own.
Recently, we had a real doozey of a toilet-obstructing incident. On this particular nightmarish day, the toilet remained clogged for most of an eternity, or so it felt since our house has only one toilet. When I was called upon for help, I relied on my standard clogged toilet trick but was unsuccessful the first time so I repeated the process several more times with more aggression.
The situation turned into a toilet siege after my repeated plunging efforts failed me. I had to resort to tricks I’d seen my husband use that I had less experience with: the toilet auger/plunger combo. For a while, my son and I worked in shifts to keep from getting worn down and in order to avoid getting my husband involved — always a last resort. Eventually, it was expressing my frustration that caused my son to abandon me and our joint efforts.
My prolonged toilet plunging was aggressive enough to record 4.2 on the Richter scale but as soon as I stopped the forceful plunging, a collective breath was held as I flushed and waited for the toilet’s verdict. The kids listened intently for the gurgle: the sign of a cleared passageway.
When I came out of the bathroom packing an ice cream bucket of excess toilet bowl water toward the door, the house was completely empty and still. Barn cats could not have scattered as quickly as my kids when they didn’t hear a gurgle.
The clogging matter seemed to be hung up in sewage purgatory. Everything I tried failed, and I finally decided it was time to detonate a toilet bomb: my cure-all homemade remedy of vinegar and baking soda used in conjunction with hot water in hopes of annihilating the culprit. It took several attempts but the toilet eventually gurgled for us.
The most important lesson my kids have learned about plugging the toilet is, stay clear of the yard. You never know where the toilet auger or plunger is going to land.
Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.